Word Cloud – The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

I used the tool Voyant (http://voyant-tools.org) to generate a word cloud for the Sherlock Holmes short story “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”

I used stop words to get rid of unnecessary words within the cloud, and added “said” to the list, as it came up more than any other word prior to my editing. Since this story surrounds the mystery of a goose with a stone stuck in its throat, it is no surprise that “geese,” “goose,” “bird,” and “stone” are among the most commonly used words. Also among the most commonly used words are the last names of people in the story, like “Baker” and “Horner.” “Christmas” is a significant word because it not only describes the time of year, but is a key factor in Holmes’ decision to not take action against the man because of the good-hearted nature of that time of year. In my opinion, it is significant that “man” is so commonly used because it instills a sense of mystery, since the story surrounds the search for an unnamed mystery man who is responsible for committing the crime.

The word cloud generated by Voyant is helpful and insightful in regards to the story not only due to the words featured, but the easy-to-read visualization characteristics. The font is simplistic and easy to read, and various eye-catching, bold colors are used to highlight the different words.

While I believe that word clouds are useful visualizations of texts and can greatly benefit visual learners, I do not feel as if they provide an adequate representation of the text to audiences who have not done the reading. In my opinion, word clouds are best when used as tools for reinforcement and discussion after reading a text.

Screen shot 2014-09-21 at 5.21.39 PM



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